Abraham Receives 18-Month Sentence on Cocaine Charge

By From Wire and Staff Reports | LA Times | December 4, 1999

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Michael Abraham, former Northridge women's basketball coach, received the lightest sentence of anyone involved in a crack-cocaine conspiracy and will spend 18 months in a federal prison.

Abraham was sentenced Friday after he pleaded guilty in July to a conspiracy charge. He admitted introducing a California drug supplier to a dealer in Omaha, Neb.

"You were a facilitator--putting a willing buyer and seller together," U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon said during his ruling in Omaha.

Abraham's attorney, Steve Houze of Portland, Ore., said his client helped the buyer and seller meet, sometimes in Abraham's house, fewer than four times.

Abraham received a user quantity of the drug as payment, Houze said. After the introduction, the deals continued even though Abraham was not involved, he said.

Abraham, who began coaching at Northridge in 1995, was arrested Oct. 27, 1998, at the campus gymnasium by FBI agents, who had been conducting a two-year investigation of cocaine trafficking in Omaha. More than 20 people were arrested in the probe by an FBI task force and the Omaha police street gang unit, and Abraham was charged with conspiring to distribute at least 50 grams of crack cocaine.